Anxious to Share

Anxious to Share

We currently live in a world of over 7.3 billion inhabitants, but what do we really share? Starting with our collective anxieties about the unexpected consequences of the “sharing economy,” this stream reflects on the short history of what has become the dominant and most pervasive contemporary meme in the field of exchange between human beings.

We currently live in a world of over 7.3 billion inhabitants, but what do we really share? Starting with our collective anxieties about the unexpected consequences of the “sharing economy,” this stream reflects on the short history of what has become the dominant and most pervasive contemporary meme in the field of exchange between human beings.

The global expanse of what seem like well-intentioned endeavors has led only to greater inequality. We have yet to see any significant reduction in the wealth gap between the haves and haves not: according to current calculations, 17 percent of the world’s population consumes 80 percent of the world's resources. In a time of global turbulence, it is necessary to pause and attempt to identify what went wrong with the various sharing systems that have developed, and also to examine the byproducts of their successes. The eagerness to share and “democratize” access on the part of platforms and enterprises such as AirBnB, Uber, and Facebook has led to their emergence as planetary scale systems capable of redesigning and reorganizing universal societal narratives and infrastructure on an unprecedented scale.

With these conditions in mind, this stream seeks to render these processes visible and catalyze a conversation about the nature of their systems. How can the processes of contemporary citizenship, design and making, and engineering attain a sense of agency, and how are we to proceed in respect to our own anxiety to share?

 

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